Lesson 008

Plural in Russian

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In this lesson we are talking about the Russian plurals. Like in English, to make a plural form from a Russian noun you need to modify its ending. Unlike in English, there are a few possible endings depending on the gender and the ending the noun has in its singular form. So let’s see how it works:

Apart from some exceptions, all plural nouns in Russian take one of four possible endings: -И, -Ы, -А or .

1. For the words of any gender ending in К, Г, Х, Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, Ь, Й or one of these letters + a vowel or Ь (soft sign) => drop off the last vowel or Ь and add И.

Examples:

нож – ножи́ (knives)
ключ – ключи́ (keys)
нога́ – но́ги (legs)
рука́ – ру́ки (hands)
ночь – но́чи (nights)
очко́ – очки́ (points, score)

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2. For the masculine nouns ending in a consonant => add Ы:

нос – носы́ (noses)
телефо́н – телефо́ны (telephones)
стол – столы́ (tables)

3. For the rest neuter nouns:

– if the word ends in Е – replace it with Я
– if the word ends in Ш/Щ/Ж/Ч/Ц + Е – replace with А,
– if the word ends in O – replace it with А

зда́ние – зда́ния (buildings)
ведро́ – вёдра́ (buckets)
со́лнце – со́лнца (suns)

4. For the rest of feminine nouns:

– replace А with Ы
– replace Я with И

голова́ – го́ловы (heads)
стена́ – сте́ны (walls)
ста́нция – ста́нции (station)
ба́ня – ба́ни (bathhouse)

Disappearing vowels

Quite a few words in the Russian language loose a vowel in their stem when made plural or changed in cases (we will cover the grammatical cases later). These words need to be memorized.

Here are some of them:

день – дни (days, m.)
ры́нок – ры́нки (markets, m.)
пода́рок – пода́рки (presents / gifts, m.)
сон – сны (dreams, m.)
замо́к – замки́ (locks, m.)
оте́ц – отцы́ (fathers, m.)

Exceptions

Unfortunately, not all the Russian nouns follow the rules we learned. Here are some of them:

мать – ма́тери
(mother – mothers)

дочь – до́чери
(daughter – daughters)

сын – сыновья́
(son – sons)

муж – мужья́
(husband – husbands)

челове́к – лю́ди
(man/person/human – people)

брат – бра́тья
(brother – brothers)

ребёнок – де́ти
(child – children)

друг – друзья́
(friend – friends)

учи́тель – учителя́
(teacher – teachers)

а́дрес – адреса́
(address – addresses)

стул – сту́лья
(chair – chairs)

де́рево – дере́вья
(tree – trees)

ве́чер – вечера́
(evening – evenings)

дом – дома́
(house – houses)

крем – крема́
(creme – cremes)

глаз – глаза́
(eye – eyes)

вре́мя – времена́
time – times

и́мя – имена́
name – names

And this is it for this lesson. We hope you enjoy our Russian course for beginners. Stick with us, and we will gladly help you on your way to learn Russian!

The offline version of this lesson is available here

Start the quiz
  • Question # 1
    Make the word plural:
    со́лнце (sun)
    • со́лнцы
    • со́лнци
    • со́лнца
    • со́лнця
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 2
    Make the word plural:
    гру́ша (pear)
    • гру́шя
    • гру́шы
    • гру́ша
    • гру́ши
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 3
    Make the word plural:
    телеви́зор (TV set)
    • телеви́зоры
    • телеви́зори
    • телеви́зоря
    • телеви́зора
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 4
    Make the word plural:
    коро́бка (box)
    • коро́бкя
    • коро́бкы
    • коро́бки
    • коро́бка
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 5
    Make the word plural:
    иде́я (idea)
    • иде́я
    • иде́и
    • иде́ы
    • иде́а
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 6
    Make the word plural:
    неде́ля (week)
    • неде́ла
    • неде́лы
    • неде́ли
    • неде́ля
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 7
    Make the word plural:
    ро́бот (robot)
    • ро́боты
    • ро́боти
    • ро́ботя
    • ро́бота
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 8
    Make the word plural:
    мо́ре (sea)
    • мора́
    • моры́
    • моря́
    • мори́
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 9
    Make the word plural:
    лицо́ (face)
    • ли́ця
    • ли́ца
    • ли́цы
    • ли́ци
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 10
    Make the word plural:
    уро́к (lesson)
    • уро́кя
    • уро́ка
    • уро́кы
    • уро́ки
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 11
    Make the word plural:
    брат
    • бра́тья
    • бра́тьи
    • бра́ти
    • бра́ты
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 12
    Make the word plural:
    ведро́
    • вёдры
    • вёдри
    • вёдра
    • вёдря
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 13
    Make the word plural:
    глаз
    • глазы́
    • глаза́
    • глази́
    • глазя́
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 14
    Make the word plural:
    гара́ж (garage)
    • гаражы́
    • гаражи́
    • гаража́
    • гаражя́
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 15
    Make the word plural:
    друг
    • друзи́
    • друзья́
    • друзя́
    • друзьи́
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 16
    Make the word plural:
    музе́й (museum)
    • музе́ы
    • музе́и
    • музе́а
    • музе́я
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 17
    Make the word plural:
    секре́т
    • секре́ты
    • секре́ти
    • секре́та
    • секре́тя
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 18
    Make the word plural:
    ребёнок
    • ребёнокья
    • де́ти
    • ребёнки
    • де́тьи
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 19
    Make the word plural:
    ла́мпа (lamp)
    • ла́мпы
    • ла́мпи
    • ла́мпа
    • ла́мпя
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
    Next
  • Question # 20
    Make the word plural:
    пода́рок
    • пода́ркья
    • пода́ркина
    • пода́рки
    • пода́роки
    Answered: 0 out of 20
    Correct answers: 0 (0%)
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More lessons on the Russian nouns

8 comments on “008 – Plural in Russian”

  1. Alexander H. Phillips says:

    I think one answer to Nzappazap is that like homonyms the only difference is in the spelling of the words. They both sound the same.

  2. NzappaZap says:

    ‘a’ and ‘o’ usually sound the same with vowel reduction, I thought. Do Russians have to tell the difference through context with some neuter nouns or is there an audible difference?

    1. NzappaZap says:

      I mean when spoken at a native pace.

      1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

        Hello NzappaZap,

        To tell the truth I do not quite understand what you are asking about.

        In spoken language Russians just pronounce the words as they are used to do. They don’t need to think about what vowel is in the end of the words to change it accordingly.

        Is that what you meant?

        1. NzappaZap says:

          I guess I’m asking if there is an audible difference between зда́ние – зда́ния when spoken at a normal speed or between de’lo and de’la. Unstressed o/a and ye/ya at the end of a word seems very similar.

          1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

            I see. No, there is no one.

            Although in some regions of Russia people tend to use more А (as in Moscow) while in others – О (Vologda).

  3. Edmund Yong says:

    so what about feminine words end with ‘я’ and ‘b’? remain the same?

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      For feminine nouns ending in Ь the first rule is used.

      For feminine nouns ending in Я, remove Я, add И.
      Thanks for noticing, the lesson will be completed.

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